Working remotely on a Spouse Kitas for a foreign company

harmonykorine

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Hi. This is my first post here and I want to share my story.
Back in 2017 I had my first working experience working as an intern in Thailand and met my indonesian gf while traveling to Jakarta. We have met countless times, I spent some time in Indonesia after my internship was over and she visited me twice in my country. She even met all my family and some friends, at this point we have a story. We have been planning for the past 2 years how to be together until I got a job with a pretty cool boss that allows me to work remotely, which made me feel so luck as it is not common for an engineer to work from home. I wont have any business in indonesia and wont steal anyones job.

I have been doing some research on this topic of working remotely, but didnt come to a conclusion. At first I will be staying in Indonesia with the 6 month visa sponsered by my gf, and we are planning on getting married next year, which, I guess, will make my case look more... legal?

Can you share similar stories?
 

snpark

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So this "job" you have now, did you get an Imta and kitas visa to work here legally or are you here on a tourist / visit visa

First you need to get married. That's a whole different story.

A work permit is different to a kitas. And not sure what work you can do while sponsored by your wife for a kitas, I think it's just supporting her or something and not working for another actual company.

Either way, working here you are supposed to at least have the IMTA work permit from them and have an NPWP tax number and declare and pay taxes.
If not, they will eventually find you and ask you to pay up.
If you break the law here on residency status they take it very serious

Don't be an illegal digital nomad. They are clamping down. They will visit you and your office and check your residence also and even ask your neighbours what you do.
 

Camillus

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I think he asked can he work online for a foreign company from anther country during living in Indonesia.

What I read in the Internet you can't do it.
 

R Cameron

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So this "job" you have now, did you get an Imta and kitas visa to work here legally or are you here on a tourist / visit visa
I believe he is saying that his job is not in Indonesia but they are allowing him to work remotely from wherever he wishes, in this case Indonesia. Please confirm @harmonykorine ? In such case of course the foreign company would not be giving an imta or kitas.

I've had many discussions about this kind of scenario, online, in person with people doing it, and even with tax and immigration officers. The bottom line is that there is no law specifically permitting or prohibiting working on your computer from Indonesian soil for a foreign company on work totally unrelated to Indonesia. It's a grey area.

There are laws saying foreigners may not "work" in Indonesia without a work permit, but the definition of "work" and "in Indonesia" have not been updated to address the modern reality of remote work. Technically, an angry immigration officer can deem you working on your laptop as illegal and deport and blacklist you. They have a lot of power to interpret the law on the spot and as they wish, and you have essentially zero ability to challenge any decision. But technically that rationale applies just as much to an Australian vacationing in Bali for one week and spending 10 minutes answering some work emails with his colleagues in Sydney, a circumstance that doubtlessly happens thousands of times a year and immigration would never wish to turn all those people away.

On the other side, I have asked immigration officers about this type of work and they have said it is okay, after asking a few details to confirm that there is nothing tying the work specifically to Indonesia (mainly not working for any Indonesian client or marketing services here). They did not consider it "work in Indonesia" if it's not for an Indonesian entity or having any sales with Indonesian people. This also assumes your reason for being in Indonesia is in line with both the letter and spirit of the law, their answer may likely be different if you are spending 3-12 months per year in Indonesia on tourist visas, but being on a sponsored visit visa while engaged to an Indonesian is a valid reason.

So, practically speaking, you can probably do it without issue. If you want more confidence, go into the local immigration office and ask; once you explain that the work has nothing to do with Indonesia they will most likely tell you it's okay.

Once you are married, however, there is a new factor, and the law more in your favor, but still a bit of a grey area. Here are some recent discussions on that topic:
 
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snpark

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So this "job" you have now, did you get an Imta and kitas visa to work here legally or are you here on a tourist / visit visa

Either way, working here you are supposed to at least have the IMTA work permit from them and have an NPWP tax number and declare and pay taxes.
If not, they will eventually find you and ask you to pay up.
If you break the law here on residency status they take it very serious
 

snpark

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But technically that rationale applies just as much to an Australian vacationing in Bali for one week and spending 10 minutes answering some work emails with his colleagues in Sydney, a circumstance that doubtlessly happens thousands of times a year and immigration would never wish to turn all those people away.
That is totally different, that is a genuine tourist here on a genuine holiday just doing some emails etc as opposed to these digital nomads who abuse a tourist visa to basically "live" here for years at a time and are primarily working here on vlogs, blogs etc and receiving income while there are here and often from Indonesian companies, hotels, businesses etc to "promote" Indonesian goods and services.
That is obviously a blatant and deliberate misuse and abuse of the VOA system

Open a company, get an IMTA and a tax number and be morally responsible
 

Jaime C

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If someone is not employed within Indonesia, then requiring a work permit for doing remote work might not be necessary. I see you frothing up so much on this issue SN, talking about bloggers and such, and I haven’t see the OP saying that he’s doing that.
 

Balifrog

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Thing with the '"grey area" is that whenever an immigration officer, for whatever reason, decides to interprete the law a certain way, you're done.
 

centurion

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I asked in Manpower Ministry in Jakarta once and they say it is ok and not forbidden. But I said a have spouse KITAP as well, allowing to do work and do business (under certain conditions). You can receive money in Indonesia as well. In this case work permit is not needed.
 

snpark

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If someone is not employed within Indonesia, then requiring a work permit for doing remote work might not be necessary. I see you frothing up so much on this issue SN, talking about bloggers and such, and I haven’t see the OP saying that he’s doing that.
Hence waiting him to confirm exactly what he does mean

I don't really froth it's just a pet peeve because they take the pi55. We all abuse govt sometimes but they just make out they are so important but in reality majority of them are just wasters and contribute little.
 

harmonykorine

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@R Cameron, thank you for your reply.

I believe he is saying that his job is not in Indonesia but they are allowing him to work remotely from wherever he wishes, in this case Indonesia. Please confirm @harmonykorine ?
That is correct. My purpose to stay in Indonesia is not to work. It's tourism and spend time with my gf.
I could be doing the same thing somewhere else.

The bottom line is that there is no law specifically permitting or prohibiting working on your computer from Indonesian soil for a foreign company on work totally unrelated to Indonesia. It's a grey area.
That is also my conclusion. I'm planning on staying in Indonesia for 6 months, spend some time in Japan and then back to Indonesia. I understand that it might sound suspicious for any foreigner to spend so many years in Indonesia on a tourist visa, but one of the topics you shared (with the foreigner who works in his wife's business) makes the law look more flexible once you get married. I wanted to know more stories like that but can't find much info.


@centurion, thank you for your reply.
I asked in Manpower Ministry in Jakarta once and they say it is ok and not forbidden. But I said a have spouse KITAP as well, allowing to do work and do business (under certain conditions). You can receive money in Indonesia as well. In this case work permit is not needed.
Can you share what thoese conditions were?
In my case, I will save all my money in my country's bank account.

@snpark
We all abuse govt sometimes but they just make out they are so important but in reality majority of them are just wasters and contribute little.
... not going to debate that with you. if you have anything useful on the subject of working remotely for a foreign company while on a spouse kitas, and back up your opinion with the actual laws, then go ahead. if not, stay salty.
 

snpark

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... not going to debate that with you. if you have anything useful on the subject of working remotely for a foreign company while on a spouse kitas, and back up your opinion with the actual laws, then go ahead. if not, stay salty.
I am not salty, and you are talking about something entirely different.

Now we have the full info, we can advise.

So you will not be working for yourself, you are working for a foreign company, so you will a work permit IMTA. On a spouse kitas you firstly need to be legally married here to her, and then you can only do some certain specific jobs. If you want to work here legally then you need to be "sponsored" by that company - the work permit / visa called an IMTA

If you are legally married here then yes your wife can legally sponsor you to stay here as a resident (KITAS)

But being here on a tourist visa and working for yourself online in starbucks etc is a different matter (what I mentioned earlier)

We did not have all the facts when you first posted
 

snpark

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If you are working for a foreign company that has no official legal presence in Indonesia, then that again is different.
Since as you said, you will in effect just be a tourist having few months off and checking your emails etc daily?
Wife can sponsor you but first you need to get legally married, once that is done yes you can then do what it is you say, which is just online work for a company outside of Indonesia

There are other visas and options available also that enable you to be here legally for 6months - 1 year without leaving every 30 days and also allow you to do business here, attend meetings etc etc
 

Helpful Herbert

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I would say that before you are married, doing what you propose is possible but a bit risky.

After you get married it is much more acceptable and unlikely to be challenged by anyone (I believe we are still waiting for a first test case), although try to keep a low profile.
 

harmonykorine

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@snpark, you are the creator of a thread called "digital nomads (sick of them)" and claim how proud you are to pay local tax, have a driving licence, etc. Funny how I came across that thread a few days ago and how much your posts reminded me of it. Not surprised at all it's the same guy after checkign that thread again. Not salty? Good for you man.

Everytime I said "foreign company" I meant a company based in my country with no legal presence in Indonesia. I'm paying the tax and have my bank account in my country. Everything is in my country and I could come back at any time. I can perform my tasks from home, in the office or anywhere I want.

I don't want to apply for any company based in indonesia, don't want to do any business or attend any meetings. I don't want to steal anyone's position and I understand that the law aims to protect the local workers.

During my time in Indonesia, I want to travel around the country, I've been there 5x before and visited very pretty places. I'm planning on keep doing that, just in case you are so worried that I won't invest in indonesia as a tourist (which, again, has nothign to do with the thread). I don't have a 9am to 5pm working schedule, just need to perform certain tasks. Some include checking emails, others not. I also want to travel to some other countries and spend long periods of time there (I wanna stay in Japan for a long while after my 6 month visa in indonesia is over).

@Helpful Herbert,
That's what I got until now. I don't want to work in any public space like starbucks or co-working space. Just do whatever I need to do at the place I'm renting or the hotel that I'm staying. Not having to deal with the hassle of renewing my visa every 30 days will be a huge relief after getting married.
 
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Pak Tani

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Be prepared that they will ask you at Kantor Imigrasi where and how you earn your living.
 

snpark

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@snpark, you are the creator of a thread called "digital nomads (sick of them)" and claim how proud you are to pay local tax, have a driving licence, etc. Funny how I came across that thread a few days ago and how much your posts reminded me of it. Not surprised at all it's the same guy after checkign that thread again. Not salty? Good for you man.

Everytime I said "foreign company" I meant a company based in my country with no legal presence in Indonesia. I'm paying the tax and have my bank account in my country. Everything is in my country and I could come back at any time. I can perform my tasks from home, in the office or anywhere I want.

I don't want to apply for any company based in indonesia, don't want to do any business or attend any meetings. I don't want to steal anyone's position and I understand that the law aims to protect the local workers.

During my time in Indonesia, I want to travel around the country, I've been there 5x before and visited very pretty places. I'm planning on keep doing that, just in case you are so worried that I won't invest in indonesia as a tourist (which, again, has nothign to do with the thread). I don't have a 9am to 5pm working schedule, just need to perform certain tasks. Some include checking emails, others not. I also want to travel to some other countries and spend long periods of time there (I wanna stay in Japan for a long while after my 6 month visa in indonesia is over).

@Helpful Herbert,
That's what I got until now. I don't want to work in any public space like starbucks or co-working space. Just do whatever I need to do at the place I'm renting or the hotel that I'm staying. Not having to deal with the hassle of renewing my visa every 30 days will be a huge relief after getting married.
In that case, that would be ok. Had you said that originally instead of being vague, it would have helped us all advise you correctly.

I am not salty, we are all here to give you advice and suggestions as to how to stay here and live here and work here legally, this forum is not here to dictate what you do is right or wrong morally, everyone is entitled to an opinion

Some people do abuse the system and many people are understandably annoyed, probably I am just one of the more vocal and frequent posters about it. It personally doesn't effect me but immigration are clamping down on it, that's all

Anyway since you have now clarified your exact situation, then what you plan to do is not going to be a problem, again as long as you keep your head down.

Grey areas can be good or bad, bad if you get caught though, that's all we are saying

And first things first, you need to get married here legally to be able to have your wife sponsor you.

And kudos to you for noticing that yes, I am indeed the very same snpark who started the other thread, and love me or hate me but I also mentioned some good advice for those landing here on which visa is best and I supply my own personal visa agent for people to use who want a visa or need an agent or sponsor for kitas, to do the imta, kitap, sosbud etc

Not everyone likes my posts, but mostly they receive positive feedback, on here and on the fb group also
 

dafluff

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If you work for a company not based in Indonesia, and do all your work remotely then you should be fine on any visa really.

On a spousal KITAS you are definitely 100% fine, provided your remote job doesn't require special permission for foreigners in Indonesia. For example: journalism, film making, research, etc.
 

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